Founded in 2001 as an all-volunteer organization, MTPC followed in the footsteps of It’s Time Massachusetts, a transgender political organization that folded after the passing of its founder, Penni Ashe.
Some Massachusetts Trans Rights and MTPC History
- In 1997, the City of Cambridge passed an amendment to the city’s Human Rights Ordinance, defining gender as “the actual or perceived appearance, expression or identity of a person with respect to masculinity and femininity” and adding it as one more basis upon which discrimination is prohibited. Coverage includes public accommodations.
- In 2001, MTPC was founded as an all-volunteer organization, following in the footsteps of It’s Time Massachusetts, a transgender political organization that folded after the passing of its founder, Penni Ashe.
- In 2002, Boston passed “An Ordinance Regarding Discrimination Based on Gender Identity or Expression” adding “gender identity or expression” to the city’s non-discrimination statutes. Coverage includes public accommodations. Northampton followed suit in 2005
- In 2004, MTPC began operating as a program of fiscal sponsor, Boston Alliance of GLBT Youth (BAGLY), a 501c3.
- In 2006, MTPC began building a broad coalition for transgender equal rights, and in 2007 led the coalition as sponsors of the first statewide transgender equal rights legislation.
- In 2007, “An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes” was first introduced. This legislation was to add Massachusetts to the list of states that have provided equal opportunity to people of all genders and amend existing hate crimes laws to include transgender people was introduced by Representative Carl Sciortino and Representative Byron Rushing. The bill was sent to the Judiciary Committee, which held a hearing on it in March 2008. Although testimony in support of the legislation was overwhelming, ultimately the committee sent the bill to study, where it stayed until the end of the 2007-2008 legislative session.
- In 2008, MTPC hired its first full-time staff person, Executive Director (and a founding MTPC member) Gunner Scott.
- In 2009, the legislation, “An Act Relative to Gender Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes,” was re-introduced into both the House (H.1728) and Senate (S.1687), and again referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. A hearing was held on July 14, 2009.
- In March 2010, the Judiciary committee was granted an extension, until May 7, to consider the bill. In late April, 2010, an amendment (#274) to the House budget bill was submitted, attaching this legislation to the budget bill, but this method of passage was not acted upon. The 2009/10 legislative session ended without action on this legislation.
- In 2011, the bill was under a new title, “An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights.” The content of the bill was the same as the past bills filed in 2007 and 2009. Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz joined Sen. Ben Downing as lead senatorial sponsors. House lead sponsors remained Rep. Carl Sciortino and Rep. Byron Rushing. The Transgender Equal Rights Coalition succeed in obtaining passage of statewide non-discrimination and hate crimes protections, with the exception of public accommodations
- On July 1, 2012, the Transgender Equal Rights Law went into effect. Massachusetts is the sixteenth state to add non-discrimination laws for gender identity in the areas of employment, housing, K-12 public education, and credit. Additionally, Massachusetts hate crimes laws were also updated to include gender identity. This law is known An Act Relative to Gender Identity.
- In 2013, MTPC along with our Trans Equal Rights Coalition filed legislation to add protections for transgender people in public places such as hotels, restaurants, medical offices, theatres, retail stores, public transportation, etc.
- In 2015, MTPC co-chaired Freedom for All Massachusetts. and launched the “Yes on 3” campaign to add gender identity to the public accommodations law. In 2016, the law passed with a bipartisan supermajority of votes in both legislative chambers and went into effect on October 1, 2016. However, enough opposition was received to put this law in question at the 2018 ballot.
- In 2018, efforts of the “Yes on 3” campaign saw MA residents send a powerful message to defend and uphold protections for transgender people in public accommodations. With 67.8% of votes, Massachusetts became the 18th state to fully protect transgender people from discrimination under the law.
MTPC thanks all of the members of the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition and Freedom for All MA for their tireless work on behalf of transgender rights. Nationwide, 17 states, Washington D.C., and over 185 counties and cities have passed legislation to ban this discrimination in their communities — including Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, and Amherst, and now Massachusetts in the areas of employment, housing, credit/lending, public education and public accommodations.
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